What is family engagement?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), parental engagement in schools is defined as “parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents.” For the purpose of this fact sheet, we will refer to parental engagement as family engagement, since youth are oftentimes raised by extended family, friends, or guardians.
Why is family engagement important?
Research has shown that family engagement improves students’ grades, test scores, attendance, homework completion, and high school graduation rates, and both increases positive attitudes and decreases negative at-risk behaviors. Some additional benefits for the entire family are that they obtain a better skill set and knowledge of their children, develop healthier relationships, and improve in the support and family services they seek. Engagement allows youth and families to excel.
What are the steps to family engagement?
There are a variety of ways in which families can be encouraged to participate in school wellness. Here are some suggestions:
What are some strategies and ideas for family engagement centered around wellness?
The CDC has a variety of resources to assist in family engagement for wellness programs. For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/parentengagement/parentsforhealthyschools.htm
Vanessa Spero-Swingle, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Elizabeth Shephard, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Angelika Keene, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Afterschool: Supporting Family Involvment in Schools (2008). Metlife Foundation Afterschool Alert Issue
Brief No. 32 Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/issue_briefs/issue_parent_involvement_32.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019.
Epstein, Joyce Levy (2019). School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action. Corwin, A SAGE Company.
“Parent Engagement in Schools/Protective Factors/Adolescent and School Health/CDC (2018).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/parent_engagement.htm. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019.
Parent Involvement in 4-H Development; A Guide for Leaders (2015). University of New Hampshire Extension. Retrieved from: https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000186_Rep204.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019.
Scholtz, D'Ette, et al. (2014) “Expanded Learning Opportunities: Parent/Family Engagement, Participant Guide EC488.” University of Lincoln Nebraska Extension. Retrieved from extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec488.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019.
Tiffany, Jennifer, and Sarah Young (2004). “Involving Parents as Partners for Youth Development.” Adolescent Self-Esteem. Retrieved from www.actforyouth.net/resources/pm/pm_involvingparents_0804.cfm. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019.